James and Terry and Angela in Georgetown
Angela visiting in Georgetown
Best Friends - James and TerryI had just crossed the Gulf Stream to Cat Cay in the Bahamas and I was very excited to have made it safely, and to have found it with just a compass and log (GPS was too expensive then). The first task was to visit the Customs dock and there I met James and Terry. They had a boat similar size to my own and were in their twenties. After being 'interviewed' by the Bahamian officials (a bit of an ordeal) I anchored off Cat Cay to sleep having being up all night for the crossing. James and Terry, anchored near by, invited me over for a drink. They had a wonderful southern drawl (I had never heard anything like it) as they were from Louisiana. It took them forever to say anything as each vowel was pronounced for what seemed several seconds. I got a big kick out of it.
The first day in the Bahamas, when anchored at Cat Cay with James and Terry, one of the biggest thrills of my trip was seeing the deep, crystal clear water under our keels on that sunny day. I had never, ever, seen such clear water, and it was the most incredible colour. We couldn't take our eyes off it. I had been told the Bahamas is the only place in the world you can have the experience of seeing every shell and piece of coral on the bottom in 80' of water - at night with only the moon! ...and its true.
They were a very nice pair and we ended up sailing together for a number of months. Terry didn't like snorkeling that much but James was nuts about it, so was I, so we spent many hours a day spearing Grouper etc. It really is desirable to snorkel with someone - it is amazing the number of adventures you can have snorkeling for hours every day in two hundred different places.
A good friend of mine, Angela, whom I worked with, and who often came sailing with me on Lake Ontario, thought it would be a great holiday to come visit me down south. James's Terry seemed to get a huge kick out of Angela - she is very entertaining - and we had meals on their boat quite often while she was down. James found it hard to believe we were just platonic friends.
The Super TroupersOne of the most impressive couples I met were T and B, another young couple on a 70' trimaran, who had an incredible story. They had decided in their twenties to cruise as a way of life and with almost no money built a 40' trimaran in Miami in an old warehouse, doing odd jobs to earn the money to complete it. After many years of hard work, just as they were about to launch the boat, some kids set fire to the warehouse when they were both away and virtually everything was consumed in the blaze.
Typical of their attitude was not to be devastated by such an event. They decided to use the experience building the boat to build an even bigger one. They immediately found another warehouse and started all over again!
When I met them in Georgetown in the southern Exumas, they had been cruising on their huge trimaran for a number of years. They had an 11 year old son and a new baby. They made their living by various means. B, who had the looks of a typical California girl (which she was), tall, blonde, very beautiful and fit, had many talents included cutting hair - in big demand among cruising sailors - early mornings she would always be cutting someone's hair on an old wooden chair on the beach. She designed and sewed bikinis which were really beautiful and also in high demand - she was also the best advertisement of her own swimwear! She was superb at painting names on dinghies, which also proved very popular. Her husband repaired sails as their huge trimaran included a large lofting table and sail sewing machine. He also could do anything involving engines, electronics etc. and had all the tools for any job.
They were best known for always helping out people in need, and refusing to take anything for their efforts. One couple had a hose break on their boat while on shore and their yacht sank by the time they got back. T and B immediately organised a major salvage operation and I heard that within three days had the boat back on anchor with everything functioning and cleaned, at no cost to the owners!
A large hammer-head shark had been lurking around the anchorages in Georgetown for a few days, causing great excitement as the water is so clear you could see its menacing form going by your boat. It attacked B's son when he was out on his windsurfer and actually took a bite out of the board! T and B leaped into action and set a shark hook and bait at night to catch it but it never came back. They had hoped to hoist it on a tripod on the beach and have barbecued shark for everyone.
For all their talents and energy, they were very modest and treated everyone equally. They were a great inspiration to us all.